Monday, March 22, 2021

Small Business Pessimism Drops Below 50%

For the first time in nine months, the percentage of small businesses expecting the worst from the coronavirus pandemic has fallen below 50 percent, according to the Census Bureau's Small Business Pulse Survey. That's progress.

The weekly Small Business Pulse survey asks businesses how long they think it will take before their business operations return to normal. During the week of March 8-14, slightly fewer than half of the nation's small businesses (49.5 percent) said it would take more than six months for them to return to normal, or their operations would never return to normal, or their business had permanently closed. This measure of pessimism has exceeded 50 percent since the week of June 7-13. The drop below 50 percent, although tiny, suggests economic conditions may be changing for the better.

How much time until your business operations return to normal? (March 8-14)
  0.8% say one month or less
  4.5% say two to three months
16.6% say four to six months
40.1% say more than six months
  7.3% say they do not think their business will ever return to normal
  2.1% say their business has permanently closed
16.9% say their business has not been affected by the pandemic
11.7% say their business has returned to its normal level of operations

Before we start singing happy days are here again, it's worth noting that the plurality of businesses still think it will be more than six months before their operations return to normal. Also, the great majority of small businesses in accommodation and food services (69 percent), arts and entertainment (66 percent), and educational services (69 percent) remain pessimistic.

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